Judge Patrick Naugle is the midwest reining Curly Shuffle champ.
All the wacky eye-poking, head-bonking antics you can stand…and then some.
The Three Stooges—Larry, Moe, and Curly—have become true pop culture icons. Even people who have never sat through one of the Stooge's short films will immediately recognize their personas: frizzy-haired Larry, bowl-headed Moe, and the baldly rotund Curly. Their boisterously crazy antics—eye poking, face-slapping, and knuckle-sandwiching—gave many a young boy the skills they needed to deal with even their most difficult siblings. Even today you can still find the Three Stooges' classic 1930s and '40s short films playing on cable day and night. It's a Stooge world…we just live in it.
Years past their prime, The New Three Stooges aired during 1965 and 1966, featuring cartoon segments book-ended by live-action wrap around short films. Cambria Studios produced the animation shorts (156 in all) while Norman Maurer (Moe Howard's son-in-law) was the executive producer on the live action films. One of the show's biggest hurdles was the fact that the Stooges were each coming to the end of their respective careers; Moe Howard was 68 and Larry Fine—plagued with multiple health issues—was 63, and each man looked it. The original Curly had passed on years prior, now replaced by Joe DeRita, which is like trying to replace the voice of Homer Simpson with the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel. To avoid any lawsuits, the familiar theme songs used in previous Stooge shorts ("Three Blind Mice") was discarded. Technically The New Three Stooges is official Stooge material, but often it seems that's the case only in name recognition alone.
I'm sad to report that The New Three Stooges is not very good. I'm sure that in the late 1960s these short cartoons and live action material went over smashingly with little children and, possibly, adult viewers. In 2013, however, the animated shorts look positively ancient, sporting shoddy production values and weak storylines. The live action material (directed by Edward Bernds) feature three old men trying to make children laugh that, frankly, looks like three old men trying to make children laugh. It's almost sad to see Moe Howard, Joe DeRita, and Larry Fine trying so hard to be funny…and failing miserably. Whatever spark The Stooges had going for them had long since faded by the time this series hit the air.
Each cartoon is generally a variation on the same theme: the rascally Three Stooges get into some kind of trouble (as park rangers, or groundskeepers, or barbers) and then they run away from all the destruction they've caused. Some episodes feature villains (including a little kid named "Badman" and a gruff talking grizzly bear), but mostly it's just the Stooges acting like Stooges in animated form. There are 156 short cartoons here, but they're all interchangeable and feature the same shtick of the Stooges running, talking, or being scared.
The New Three Stooges will really only appeal to viewers who watched these cartoon shorts when they were kids. While today's children may be entertained by the show for a few episodes, it's hard to imagine anyone sitting though this paltry material for more than ten minutes at a time. If you really have a craving for the Three Stooges and their unique brand of lunacy, I suggest checking out their original films that still inspire manic giggles even to this day.
Each episode of The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame in standard definition. The image quality on these transfers are mediocre at best; the colors look washed out and saturated while the prints all feature dirt, grain, and other small defects. They're by no means terrible (and may in fact look the best they ever will), but overall the picture quality isn't great. The soundtracks for each episode are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in English. There isn't a lot to report here; the tracks feature okay dialogue (some of it seems muffled), music, and effects. There are no alternate subtitles or audio tracks on this four disc set.
The only supplement is a bonus fifth disc—an audio CD with Three Stooges sing-along songs and holiday standards.
The video and audio are only passable and the extra features are almost non-existent. The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection will appeal to anyone who has a nostalgic love of this series. Otherwise, casual viewers will want to steer clear.
Guilty of taking The Stooges personas and doing as little with them as
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
• Bonus CD
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